Reports that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi would enter the campaign fray seems to have generated considerable favour for her in the Twitterverse. With the Congress facing pressure on every front and its campaign seemingly faltering under the stewardship of Rahul Gandhi, the UPA chairperson is expected to address a series of rallies beginning late March and continuing into April.
The news has caused her popularity and favourability scores on the SSI index to skyrocket, making her the second most popular politician last week.
To determine the rankings, politicians and political parties were allotted a Simplify360 Social Index (SSI), based on four parameters – Awareness, Spread, Prominence and Favourability. For the week ending March 23 (March 17 to 23) Sonia Gandhi had an overall SSI score of 76, up 13 points from the previous week, when she was ranked 14. Her favourability score stands at a whooping 92 points, beating Modi by 9 points. In comparison, her cumulative favourability score stood at 50 in the month of February. In terms of sentiment, this translates to 24% positive sentiment for Sonia Gandhi, the most among the top 10 politicians for the week and tied with Sharad Pawar. Despite these scores, the overall mentions for Sonia Gandhi continued to remain low, never crossing the 10,000 mark, as compared to Narendra Modi (who peaked at 60,000+) and Rahul Gandhi (who peaked at 10,000+).
An analysis of the graph given below, which tracks the mentions for the top three politicians over the week shows that Modi continues to dominate in terms of chatter, while Sonia Gandhi has, comparatively, almost negligible buzz around her. The major upheavals occur around March 20-22, which were highlighted with Sonia Gandhi’s passport tussle with a US court and news that she would file her nomination papers from Rae Bareli on April 2. Consequently, March 21 saw a dip in mentions for both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, which coincided with a sharp peak in mentions for Sonia Gandhi. However, this spike in popularity seems to have faded out as the week progressed.
It will be interesting to see how the social media space reacts to Sonia Gandhi post her rally in Delhi on March 30 and in the coming rallies in April. Meanwhile, the #myvoteformodi hashtag continued to trend last week too, receiving 66,815 mentions in the week. The BJP, which continues to lead in terms of buzz on social media showed a sharp spike in chatter with the Pramod Muthalik controversy, an incident which could have also contributed to a 1% increase in negative sentiment for the party. The buzz around AAP also seems to have died down a bit this week with mentions for the party hovering around the 20,000 mark, where, in the previous week, they were around 30,000 to 40,000.